The Royal Opera House (ROH) has announced Jakub Hrůša as its new music director. The Czech-born conductor will assume the position of music director designate with immediate effect, beginning his tenure as music director in September 2025.
Hrůša will already be a familiar face with Royal Opera audiences, having previously conducted Barrie Kosky’s innovative 2018 version of Bizet’s Carmen (1875) and the company’s 2022 production of Wagner’s Lohengrin (1850) to great critical acclaim.
“I have been privileged to work on two wonderful Royal Opera House productions as a guest conductor, and the recent Lohengrin was one of the highlights of my artistic life to date,” Hrůša commented.
“I have always dreamt about a long-term relationship with a house where one can reach the highest standards in opera, and I realised very quickly that I adored the whole team of artists and staff at Covent Garden. I am thrilled to accept the position of music director.”
He is currently serving as chief conductor of Bamberg Symphony, a position he has held since 2016; he is also principal guest conductor of both the Czech Philharmonic and the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.
In recent years, he has been in high demand as a guest conductor, appearing regularly with the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and, in the US, with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony and The Cleveland Orchestra.
Hrůša has led productions for the Salzburg Festival, Vienna State Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Zurich Opera, Frankfurt Opera and Glyndebourne Festival, among others. He also served as music director of the Glyndebourne Tour from 2010 to 2012.
Oliver Mears, director of the Royal Opera, said: “Jakub has proven himself to be one of today’s most exciting conductors in both the symphonic and operatic repertory.
“We have been hugely impressed by not only his superlative music and theatre-making, but also by the generosity and warmth of his personality: Jakub is a true collaborator, able to get the very best from his colleagues.
“As a musician of high intellect, thoughtfulness and a deep conviction in the power of music to change us, he is the perfect fit for Covent Garden.”
Future productions that Hrůša will lead as music director include works by Puccini, Prokofiev, Britten and Janáček. In the 2027-28 season he will be reunited with Kosky as he conducts a new full cycle of Richard Wagner’s epic Der Ring des Nibelungen (1876) – the Royal Opera House’s first full Ring Cycle since the sell-out run in 2018.
Jakub Hrůša added: “I feel immensely excited about the future collaboration. London is not just a place I have loved living and working but will now be precious to me as my true artistic home in the field of opera. I feel blessed that I can devote my skills and energies to the future of this extraordinary opera house.”
He succeeds Antonio Pappano, who steps down from his post at the end of the 2023-24 season, after 22 years as ROH’s music director. In the 2024-25 season, Hrůša and Pappano will share responsibilities, and both will appear as special guest conductors across the season. They will be joined by a number of celebrated new and returning conductors.
Pappano, the Royal Opera’s longest-serving music director, will become chief conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) from September 2024.
Alex Beard, chief executive of the Royal Opera House, said: “We are absolutely delighted to announce Jakub Hrůša as successor to Tony Pappano as our music director. Jakub brings his own qualities as an exceptional musician and natural leader to build on Tony’s achievements with the Royal Opera team, inspiring growing audiences in this country and across the world with this extraordinary and transformational artform.”
Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša has been announced as the Royal Opera House’s new music director; he will take up the position in 2025.